Was social always this exhausting?

This pandemic is detrimental to my social skills, or at least to the way they affect me and my mental state. I was never the most extraverted person. Not a fantastic person on parties. But I could hold a conversation without problems, and they would often give me energy. I also greatly enjoyed coffee breaks at work, and the chats I had with colleagues (best ideas are born during coffee breaks).

This has changed a bit.

We have taken contact limitations quite seriously over the pandemic. We rarely have people over. We rarely go out with others, aside from a small selection of people with kids of the same age, with whom we mostly meet outside.

Yesterday, we had some friends over from the Netherlands. They were on their way to Austria, for which they needed PCR tests. We deemed it acceptable to have them over and offer them out guest room. They stayed for breakfast this morning and continued their journey.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved it that they came by, left home a day earlier, basically just to visit us. I loved having people over, in the safest possible way, and now with testing and self testing becoming such a standard, I’m glad that these things are finally easier. I miss friends. Nevertheless, from halfway through the morning, my head exploded with overwhelm. Massive headaches. A good dose of ibuprofen helped me through the day and it relieved the pain, but it could not mask the extreme exhaustion that I felt, and still feel. Seriously. This pandemic took away my social sponge – the part of me that sucked up the energy from social activities, and used them to feel good.

I’m not sure I’m alone in this. Maybe I’m extreme in the limits I have set? Maybe I am my own problem. I hope that when this pandemic is over (and hope it will be soon, ugh), people are still people, and will not have turned into overwhelmed and socially awkward zombies. I’m sure that I have to work on this myself.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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